The sun was an eerie red ball on the horizon as I drove to the studio for my weekly radio show. It was burning a hole in the misty morning as its rays struggled through 100 per cent humidity, its lurid appearance adding to the strangeness of this 18th day of March in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where we are told it will soar to 27 degrees and maybe even higher today.
This is a city just 69 miles north of the 49th parallel, a winter city to rival Moscow and Reykjavik. We would normally be bundled up like polar bears, plugging our cars in at night and wearing warm winter boots. Instead, joggers are in shorts, the golf courses have opened and music from an ice cream truck is piercing the morning air.
People are loving the release from winter, but they are also inwardly troubled by the unseasonal heat. “They are controlling it,” grumbled my checkout clerk at the supermarket. I asked him who “they” were. “The United States and Russia,” he responded. “They have the technology.” I should have asked him the motive for this strange control, given that the current weather is a bit of a gift.
It’s true, however, that it has been unnaturally warm all week and it promises to continue that way into the foreseeable future. Grass is greening. Ducks and geese have returned. There are fat buds on the Manitoba maple and on the lilac. The celandine poppy, always eager for an early start, is sending up sweet little green sentinels to test the air. This is all happening a month too soon.
It is 10:30 in the morning and already the air is very warm as I sit in my recently dormant garden, listening to the last of the ice crack in the pool. There is a light breeze, nothing uncomfortable, but enough to disturb the small wind chimes scattered around our patio. (Glenn, who is beginning to recover from his surgery, won’t let me hang up the heavy duty ones as he feels they disturb the birds.)
Early this morning, the air was filled with birdsong. Just now, a precocious bug tried to share my tea – much to its great personal expense. Item by item, the sun is coaxing our winter world into an early rising, (although the tulips have sensibly decided to remain hidden) but . . . this is Manitoba and we have had early springs before (although not this heat so early in March) and then reality usually sets in; a cold front suddenly appears and wipes out all the emergent flower buds and even the leaves on trees and shrubs which have to re-manufacture everything again.
Still, the sun is very persuasive, burning my legs through my pants as I sit here absorbing the welcome vitamin D.
I think I will bring out my rosemary and parsley to give them a treat.